Tag Archives: new museums

Art meets athletics

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No hard sell’s needed for baseball around our house. James has been a season ticket holder since the Arizona Diamondbacks made their debut more than a decade ago, and has long enjoyed taking the kids along for both home games and spring training events.

I’m a bigger fan of baseball ala art, which explains my delight at discovering portions of the “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience” collection exhibited in the arts center for my hometown performing arts venue — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

I’ve been enjoying “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience” works exhibited at the Arizona Museum for Youth for years, but soon the collection will have its own digs in Mesa.

Mesa Historical Museum housed the main collection for four years — but it’s now being moved to a dedicated space inside a former art gallery at 53 E. Main Street. The exhibition is expected to cover 3,000 square feet.

Exhibition organizers are working to secure a permanent home and museum for the collection, which has thus far been seen by more than 200,000 people — mostly during spring training season.

The “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience” collection currently includes about 2,000 items, including “artifacts, relics from long gone ballparks, and photographs.”

Being a bit of a neophyte, I appreciated the timeline and other educational elements included in the display located at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — which focuses on Scottsdale connections, such as Scottsdale Charros, to the Cactus League.

Another intriguing mix of art and athletics comes to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Thurs, March 29. It’s “Selected Shorts: Springtime, Sex and Baseball” — a stage adaptation of the “Selected Shorts” public radio series featuring host Isaiah Sheffer.

Sheffer will be joined on stage by Tony Award winner Renee Auberjonois and Emmy Award nominee Christina Pickles for “an evening of hilarious and unforgettable short stories about baseball and romance” authored by W.P. Kinsella, Garrison Keillor, Padgett Powell and others.

A Family People Productions work dubbed “Bardball” hits the Herberger Theater Center for Lunch Time Theater July 24-Aug 2. It’s one of three short plays that’ll be performed weekdays at 12:1opm for those of you who like to grab a bit of art and athletics during the lunch hour.

– Lynn

Note: You can also enjoy a portion of the “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience” at the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park

Coming up: Showtime at Seton, Spring dance recitals, Golf meets musical theater

Patriotism & pedestrians

This exhibit space in lower Manhattan gives visitors a taste of the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum scheduled to open to the public on September 12, 2011

Like many Americans, images from the tragic events of September 11, 2001, are seered into my soul. Until my recent trip to New York City, I continued to picture Ground Zero as a giant hole in the ground, as a place of emptiness. But when I went to see the site, that image I carry with me wasn’t there. Instead, I found patriotism and pedestrians.

View of World Trade Center construction zone from the 9/11 Memorial Preview Center

The area surrounding Ground Zero in lower Manhattan is teeming with people walking streets full of construction crews and their equipment. Business folk scurrying to and from work, tourists pausing to snap photos and young parents pushing strollers.

A family pauses at one of many windows in an enclosed pedestrian walkway that runs from one side of the World Trade Center construction zone to the other

Those who come to remember 9/11 have several options — including the World Trade Center Tribute Center and the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site, where I spent some time during my recent visit. The preview center was packed with people, many standing quiet and still — almost frozen in time as they must have been the day many of us watched events unfolding on our television screens.

This exhibit at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site recounts each event and the time it took place

They were reading a timeline of 9/11 events that wraps around the top of the walls, watching video tape accounts of heroism, pausing to reflect over items like the shiny black shoes and crisp white hat that belonged to one of the firefighters who lost his life that day.

This model shows the buildings and reflecting pools taking shape at the WTC site

The completed museum will feature a memorial exhibit commemorating the lives of those who perished on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 and will provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about the men, women and children who died.

Patches (including one from the Pima County Sheriff) are part of the Lady Liberty exhibit

The 9/11 Memorial Preview Site has a retail area where visitors can buy T-shirts, toys, books and more — many with an NYPD or FDNY theme. Even gold and silver leaves representing the 400 trees to be planted at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I came home with several bookmarks and wristbands, plus information on how to purchase a cobblestone or paver for the memorial plaza.

This poster hangs in the gift shop area of the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site

But I came home with something more. A new image of America in the aftermath of 9/11. The hole in our collective soul is mending. The patriotism and pedestrians at Ground Zero affirm that, though we will never forget, we are forging a future fueled by freedom rather than fear.

– Lynn

Note: Click here for tips on talking with your children about 9/11

Coming up: Finding Frida, New Works Festival, Art meets All-Star Baseball

Update: The 9/11 Memorial is now open to the public (online reservations required) — the museum is still being completed.

Comicon tales

A few of Lizabeth's fun finds from Friday night at Phoenix Comicon 2011

It was “show and tell” at our house this morning — something my daughter, now 17, hasn’t done since circle time during kindergarten at Desert View Learning Center in Phoenix.

She awoke eager to show me her first day’s haul from Phoenix Comicon, taking place this weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center, which is billed as “the signature pop culture event of the Southwest.”

Autographed photos. Freebie like luggage tags and treat bags featuring faces of fan favorites. Posters to line the walls of her college dorm in NYC this fall — including one from a movie called “The Roommate” that’ll hardly make a glowing first impression.

We got our first taste of Phoenix Comicon 2011 while lunching at Majerle’s Sports Grill, across the street from the stage door at Symphony Hall, which we first discovered when Lizabeth performed the role of “party girl” in the Ballet Arizona production of “The Nutcracker.” The streets were dotted with folks wearing superhero T-shirts and other pop culture fare.

James was struck, while picking Lizabeth up after the event Friday night, by the blend of people intermingled in the streets — those finely dressed for an evening graduation ceremony, those donning patriotic garb for the Phoenix Symphony’s “Boogie Woogie Pops” concert and those whose tastes trend more towards Marvel’s “Green Goblin.” The city, like our three children, is growing up all around us.

Having a mom who blogs is a mixed bag. My kids know to offer a disclaimer for arts-related conversations that aren’t meant for public consumption. But sometimes they enjoy the opportunity blogging brings to spotlight the good things we discover during our daily travels.

Lizabeth was particularly animated while describing finger puppets she’d seen at one of the exhibitor booths at this year’s Phoenix Comicon. Finger puppets of cute, furry animals aren’t hard to come by. But “bacon” finger puppets — and even “finger” finger puppets — have a different sort of magic altogether.

Lizabeth took special care to snag a business card for Stacey Rebecca Gordon, proud puppet crafter and performer whose business is dubbed “Puppet Pie.” I was delighted to discover that Gordon — who describes herself as improviser, mom and wife — has a charming, cheeky blog complete with photos of her works.

One of Lizabeth's favorite actors is working to create a culture of literacy

Lizabeth was equally smitten with the “Kids Need to Read” booth. “Kids Need to Read” is a non-profit organization based in Mesa that enourages literacy, promotes social responsibility, fosters leadership and inspires imaginations. Canadian-born Nathan Fillion, one of Lizabeth’s favorite actors, is a co-founder of “Kids Need to Read.”

“I felt like such a geek,” Lizabeth told me during one of her many Comicon tales. I expected her to follow with a story of being the only person at the Convention Center sporting regular street clothes (if that’s what you call a purple “I’m Not Dead Yet” T-shirt from the musical “Monty Pyton’s Spamalot“).

But she was referring to gushing over someone she met at Comicon. Not a celebrity or actor protraying a super-hero, but a real super-hero — a librarian. Lizabeth shared with the librarian how much trips to our local libraries, still a favorite pastime for James and the girls, have meant to her through the years.

Libraries make the world feel bigger and more intimate at the same time, and no child should ever have to do without them. Lizabeth mentioned to the librarian she met at Comicon the fact that librarians she met as a child were always so nice, friendly and helpful.

Lizabeth shared that the librarian seemed genuinely touched by her words. Perhaps she, like many others, feels unappreciated or doesn’t receive nearly the recognition she deserves. It can’t help that so many libraries and other keepers and creators of culture are taking a hit during budget battles that strip pounds while trying to save pennies.

Tonight’s Phoenix Comicon events include the “Kids Need to Read Geek Prom,” sponsored by Bookman’s — with all proceeds benefiting “Kids Need to Read.”

Comicon also includes a film festival — with films sporting titles like “Laptop’s Revenge,” ” Paint-B-Que” and “Peace, Love & Tacos” (plus others with a more offensive vibe). But it’s Lizabeth’s flyer for a 2010 independent film titled “Beautiful Boy” that looks most intriguing. The movie hits Valley theaters in June.

As James headed out this morning to drive Lizabeth to downtown Phoenix for more Phoenix Comicon adventures, I commented that Lizabeth seems to be having the time of her life. He readily agreed, adding an insight of his own…

“She’s with her people.”

– Lynn

Note: Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix is home to the “Arizona Pop Culture Experience.”

Coming up: From Sondheim to South Park, Father’s Day meets JFK

We ♥ teachers

Tackling the rumblings of some Wisconsin legislators who seem to believe that public school teachers are living large off taxpayer dollars, Jon Stewart put together a little ditty titled “Cribs: Teachers Edition” inspired by the real “Cribs” series on MTV.

It follows correspondent Samantha Bee as she visits the New York City homes of two public school teachers — only to discover that both women do, in fact, have a bathroom (albeit tiny) and a closet (nearly empty).

But it doesn’t stop there. One has a futon, while the other has a dishwasher. One even lets her daughter have a small bedroom rather than sleeping in the bathtub. You can see how wildly out of control these teachers have become.

I’m guessing plenty of Arizona teachers don’t fare nearly as well. So I was thrilled to learn that the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix is offering free admission to teachers during March 2011.

Someone who appreciates teachers? That's music to my ears! (Photo: Lynn Trimble)

The complimentary admission applies to “all Arizona K-12 teachers, registered student teachers, school principals, and home-school educators who present a school-issued ID or (for home-school educators) an affidavit of intent at the Guest Service desk upon entering the museum.”

“Each educator can bring one guest (of any age) for free,” according to MIM education manager Sarah Weber — who coordinates school field trips and other education programs at the MIM. “The offer is good,” adds Weber, “for any day in March 2011.”

But teachers, beware. You’ll be tempted to buy a few treats at the Cafe while you’re there, much to the dismay of all those naysayers who think the taxpayers might be better served if you ate out of restaurant reject bins.

And you’ll probably even explore the Museum Store in search of gifts for special occasions or materials for your classroom — proving to detractors that you have way too much spare change and time on your hands.

So remember to explain, if asked about your musical journey around the world, that the Musical Instrument Museum waived their admission fee for you. We certainly wouldn’t want our own state legislators thinking that Arizona teachers make enough to enjoy local hotbeds of global arts and culture.

– Lynn

Note: The Musical Instrument Museum also has a Music Theater – so if you like what you see the day you visit, consider a return trip to share global music with family and friends.

Coming up: Perspectives on public broadcasting

Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center

After dropping one of my kids off for a meeting in downtown Phoenix on Saturday, I had an hour or so of spare time on my hands. Recently armed with a new camera, I decided to go in search of art venues I could explore and maybe snap some photos.

The view as I walked east towards ALAC and Symphony Hall

I found a metered parking spot along Adams, and headed a block or so up the road to the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center. I entered through the gift shop, lured by a vast array of colorful objects of art, attire, jewelry and more.

ALAC has a humble exterior but boasts great works of imagination within

There I met two cheerful gentleman who welcomed me to the Center, and assured me they’d be happy to answer any questions. I got permission to use my flash and off I went.

This bracelet with hearts might make a nice Valentine's Day gift

While going from room to room, I enjoyed works ranging from small metal sculptures to giant artworks drawn with colored pencils.

Sweet Dreams by David Romo sits at a nice height for younger viewers

I enjoyed artwork featuring cars, owls, desert animals, children, butterflies, the wide open sky and so much more. It’s a place you can explore in less than an hour, and I saw plenty of works that have strong kid-appeal.

Detail, Til the Road Ends by Ray Rivas

The Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center is in a great location for walking city streets and enjoying all sorts of shops, restaurants, galleries and performing arts venues.

Untitled by Carlos Navarrete is part of a Visions of Guadalupe exhibit

You could easily make a day of it by taking in a show at Valley Youth Theatre nearby or htting the Phoenix Burton Barr Central Library. (Both have small art exhibits on site.)

Like many musems, ALAC uses technology to enhance cultural exhibits

But back to my ALAC adventures — which included a lengthy and lively chat with one of the young men who’d greeted me when I arrived.

This metal and found objects sculpture (R) is Cicso's Ride by David Romo

I learned late in our conversation, after mentioning my fondness for the colored pencil works, that I was talking with artist Carlos Rivas.

Detail, Must Not Sleep by Carlos Rivas - Part of the "Off the Grid" exhibit

Rivas is a 33-year-old “self-taught” artist from El Paso, Texas who has been creating art since childhood, but only embraced his talent within the past few years. His passion for art and community are evident as he speaks.

Detail, Lord Ganesh by Carlos Rivas - My favorite work on exhibit at ALAC

I mentioned seeing yet another Arizona-related story on the front page of The New York Times – regarding recent changes to policies regarding ethnic-studies courses in high school.

We agreed that it would be nice to read good news about Arizona for a change, and Rivas shared his conviction that the Center serves the community by increasing knowledge, understanding and dialogue.

I hadn’t yet heard the tragic news of the shooting in Tucson, and it occured to me that the national media should visit the Center to find a bit of what’s beautiful here in Arizona.

You can enjoy the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center free of charge during regular operating hours — but a glass jar welcomes donations by those who wish to support the Center’s work.

ALAC has a room/stage dedicated to performance and educational events

Or head to the Center for Phoenix “First Fridays” so you can enjoy several arts and cultural activities in one evening.

Remember ALAC next time you enjoy a symphony, opera or ballet downtown

If you’re a teacher taking students on a field trip to the Herberger Theater Center, Phoenix Symphony Hall or other nearby venue, leave some extra time to explore the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center.

The Herberger Theater Center has a stunning new look both inside and out

The Center is also a nice pairing with an afternoon spent at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. I left the Center with a wee bit of time left on my parking meter, so I scurried over to the Herberger Theater Center Art Gallery to enjoy their new “Sacred Places” exhibit.

This James Van Fossan work titled Sky IV is part of the Sacred Places exhibit

On my way back to get Lizabeth, I drove past the Phoenix Center Theater and noticed a long line of folks heading into the theater for a performance of “Grease” by youth in an afterschool program titled “Art & Sol.” The show runs through Sat, Jan 22.

Enjoy true community theater just off the Loop 202 at 3rd St. in Phoenix

I’ll share more of my Saturday afternoon adventures in another post. In the meantime, feel free to suggest other venues you’d like me to explore and share with our readers.

Watch for roving Phoenix Ambassadors eager to assist downtown visitors

Inspired by the work and words of Carlos Rivas, I expect to take not only my camera, but also a sketch pad and colored pencils, on future art adventures.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about arts and cultural attractions in the downtown Phoenix area.

Coming up: Art at the Herberger — inside and out

Photos (decent and lousy) by Lynn Trimble

Exploring the MIM: Who knew?

Part of the Thailand exhibit at the MIM.

I’m fresh off my first visit to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, where I discovered a one-of-a-kind mix of history, art, geography, technology, ecology and—of course—music. But how to convey my awe within the brevity of a blog? Or to describe such an uncommon unison of reverence with giddiness?

Perhaps a tour through what I learned today will begin to impress upon you the urgency of experiencing this museum—a breathtaking synthesis of sight and sound saturated in simplicity and sophistication—for yourself.

Phonograph exhibit.

Here’s a sampling of my personal “who knew” moments at the MIM…

  • More than 600 species of bamboo grow in China
  • The Tuvans, the indigenous peoples of Siberia, are known for their throat singing
  • Haiti’s flag is predominantly bright red and blue
  • Museum curators share two traits: Insatiable curiosity and attention to detail
  • MIM mannequins were custom made by a Belgian artists to reflect the cultures of their corresponding exhibits
  • Instruments from Germany have fun names like Krummhorn, Sackbutt, Zink and Fluegelhorn
  • There’s a Grateful Dead version of the board game Monopoly
  • Fender guitars has their headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Many cultures, including Latvia, originally had no indigenous, overarching word for music
  • Early country western musicians in the U.S. often wore something called a Nudie suit
  • There is only one instrument in the world that can be played without touching it
  • Ethnicity, profession and music are all part of caste identity in Nepal
  • The typical bass bow weighs 110-145 grams (compared to the 500 gram bow of the MIM’s giant bass)
  • Relationships between governments impact the sharing of musical instruments between countries
  • The word “tar” in Persia means “string”—and the word “gaz” in Persian means “musical instrument”
  • The first Steinway piano was built in 1836—inside a kitchen in Germany

I came home from the museum with a single purchase from the gift shop—a magnet with the phrase that greets visitors to the museum’s magnificent exhibits: “Music is the language of the soul.” It is, indeed, one of only a few things that reach across every culture.

African drums.

I was struck by many of the MIM facts shared during our media tour…

That the dream began more than four years ago after a visit to a musical instrument museum in Brussels. That the process of collecting instruments started three years ago. That more than 3,000 of the museum’s 10,000-plus acquisitions are currently on exhibit. That the MIM is the world’s only global musical instrument museum.

But it’s a reflection made by one of the museum’s curators as we toured one of the museum’s five collections (Africa and Middle East, Asia & Oceana, Europe, Latin America and United States/Canada) that struck the purest note.

In the collection, care, exhibition and sharing of instruments from around the globe, the MIM serves as a muse to ever remind us of one indelible truth…

All people are equal.

–Lynn

Note: The Musical Instrument Museum—located at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd. in Phoenix—is open Mon-Wed 9am-5pm, Thurs and Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 9am-5pm and Sun 10am-5pm. Admission is $15 for adults (18-64), $13 for seniors (65+), $10 for children (6-17) and free for the under-6 set. Free-onsite parking is available and audio equipment rental is free with admission. School and group tours are available. Frequent visitors and fervent supporters may wish to join the MIM’s “Circle of Friends”—which offers varying benefits according to giving level ($250 minimum gift for individuals and $1,000 minimum gift for businesses/corporations). Info: 480-478-6000. Tickets: 480-478-6001.

Coming up: Stage Mom’s “Top Ten” Reasons to Visit the MIM

Steinway exhibit shows the stages involved in crafting a piano.

Photos by Karen Barr